Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tech Crunch/ Crunch Gear Meetup - National blog visits Columbus, Ohio

Recently, John Biggs, a writer with Crunch Gear/Tech Crunch, held an informal meetup in Columbus, Ohio. The event drew 100 or so local entrepreneurs and technologists. Our very own Rini Das (CEO, PAKRA Games) was in attendance.

Here is what John had to say about the meetup:

"I was amazed at the energy and excitement here in my hometown, good old Columbus. I met the guy who sold me a car this weekend and the guy who invented the
PowerSquid. There are a few start-ups and products I’m going to highlight this week and I’m pleased to say that these folks are amazingly excited and enthusiastic, even in a down economy. Here’s to you, Columbus. I’ve been so coast-centric this decade that I failed to see your true worth and the beauty of your bar culture. "

To check a list of other attendees and see more pictures, click here:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Central Ohio Technology Startups in 2008

Our very own PAKRA Games, and our CEO - Rini Das, has been featured as one of over 75 technology startups established in the central Ohio area this year.

Columbus, Ohio has a thriving technology market and the list of technology companies established 2008 reflects this! Check out the link below for the full list of startups.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

GameSpot's Best Games of 2008

Checking out this year's games in review at GameSpot is a good way to catch up on titles you forgot about or pick up interesting facts about those you remembered. Personally, I'm making a list of titles and checking it twice to make sure I'm not missing out on anything.

The forums surrounding their have been a source of amusement. There are some hard to please gamers out there! Gameplay and glitches seem to be the biggest source of frustration for these folks as opposed to graphics or performance. Another source is sequels following their predecessor's formula too close, not close enough, or not improving on it's glaring issues.

It reminds me of new music coming out from bands that I've grown accustomed to. Is it going to sound the same? Are they going to "mess around" with their sound and try something new? Just enjoy (and appreciate) it for what it is. If nothing else you can appreciate the predecessor that much more and look forward to the next release! Maybe a nice imitation will come out in the mean time.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

2008 VGA and Papervision3D

So I'm watching the 2008 Video Game Awards and all I'm thinking of is how the ladies remind me of the Wizard of Oz... Glinda, the Tin Man, and a flying monkey mash-up. Aside from the real Jack Black my highlight has been seeing God of War III. If Sony puts out a second Shadow of the Colossus then I won't have any excuse to not get a PS3 anymore.

On another note, Flash 3D engine Papervision3D has received more recent accolades. I'm excited about the possibilities for PAKRA gaming in 3D in the coming year. To give an example and tie in with another of our recent posts, Papervision3D has a post showcasing a Guitar Hero/Rock Band game.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Innovative use of video game technology in the medical field

Video game technology is being used more and more in education and training, and is also spreading to the medical field.

Interactive video games are bringing new therapy and fitness approaches to players of all ages. MarketWatch's Kristen Gerencher looks at a program designed to help young cancer patients and one aimed at people with Parkinson's disease.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rock Band 2 versus Guitar Hero World Tour. Which Game Really Rocks?

As the holidays are approaching, many kids (and adults) will have video games on their wish lists. Two of the most popular video game franchises right now are the Rock Band and Guitar Hero series of games. Most recently, Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero World Tour have been released. Both games follow a similar format - players form a virtual band and are able to play three different peripherals modeled after real instruments (guitar, microphone, drums). These peripherals are used to simulate playing rock music by hitting scrolling notes as they appear on screen.

With two products that are so similar, the question must be asked... Which one is better? Both games have their pros and cons, but in the end, there is a clear winner.

Track List
Both games score immediate points by realizing that cover songs just aren't as much fun as originals. The tracks lists for both games consist entirely of master tracks. This is a vast improvement over disappointing covers of Social Distortion and Rush songs, to name just a few. Disappointing though, is the fact that Guitar Hero World Tour offers only 84 tracks and 55 downloadable songs from 22 different bands. This just doesn't cut it for the core purpose of the game which is extended play as a band.

Rock Band 2 offers a total of over 500 songs. The original Rock Band track list is automatically uploaded to the Rock Band 2 catalog. The total available track list is extended to over 500 songs once downloadable content is included.

Rock Band 2 wins this category!

Guitar Hero World Tour features some stunning graphics in the game introduction and during song play. The visuals are bright, sharp, and punchy. The downside is the cartoonish avatars. The characters are over the top in appearance and awkward on stage. Overall, Guitar Hero appears to be trying a little too hard to look cool.

Rock Band 2's graphics are more lo-fi than the competitor, in a good way. The avatars are extremely customizable and look like real rockers. They move with ease on stage. Not at a lot has changed between the first Rock Band release and this one, but if it's not broke then don't fix it.

Rock Band 2 wins again!

Ease of Use/Party Play
Both games feature the same levels of difficulty - Easy, Medium, Hard, and Expert. The Easy mode on both games is simple enough for almost any novice to play along to. Both games allow each individual band member to play on the difficulty of their choosing.

The biggest advantage to Rock Band 2 is that the song menu shows the difficulty of each song for each instrument. This allows the gamer who usually plays on Expert to see that the drum track for Tom Sawyer, for example, is unusually challenging and gives him/her the opportunity to decrease the level of difficulty for that song.

Rock Band 2 wins by a hair!

A couple small features that I feel compelled to mention. I love the addition of the "note streak" counter to let you know how many notes in a row that you've hit on Guitar Hero World Tour. Both use the same 5 star rating system to rate success. Unfortunately, Guitar Hero does not display the star meter throughout the song. You have no indication of how many stars that you've earned at any point or how close the song is to completion. Rock Band 2 features the same star counter display in its predecessor and that's a major delighter. Rock Band 2 has also added a new feature, the No Fail mode. This allows players to rock along to any song without failing out, no matter how poorly they play. This is great for parties where novices want to join and for families with children who want to play.

Rock Band 2 takes this category!

Rock Band 2 wins this competition hands down! It's seemingly endless track list, cool visuals, and ease of use make it a better choice over the competition.

I personally am an avid fan of both the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises. Although Rock Band 2 comes out the winner in a head to head comparison, both games are great fun and either would make a great gift for any gamer.

Up next, I will be reviewing the new Wii game Skate It. This game utilizes the Wii Fit balance board and allows the player to control the skate board with physical movement instead of a hand held controller. Look for this review shortly after Christmas!

Rock on,

Study by Rice Univesity, Using Wii in Adult Education

Greetings! I wanted to share this interesting article regarding the use of the Nintendo Wii console in adult learning. The goal of this study by Rice University is to enable people to learn using motor pathways. Please check out this article, as posted on

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Free Oranges for the season from PAKRA

Hello and Season's Greetings from PAKRA.

In the spirit of the season, we are giving away a new game! It is a simulation of the real working environment of a call center. This game is an abbreviated version of what is available in our full suite of games.

Our game Free Oranges© can be accessed at

Our first interactive learning game, We the Decided©
2008, can still be accessed as well. It was inspired by the 2008 United States presidential election and was launched in October 2008. It is available at

Please play, enjoy, and share our game on to as many people as possible!

Next up -- Patient Safety games in 2009. Watch out for more news and fun.

Wishing you and your family a Wonderful Holiday and a Fabulous 2009.

All of us at PAKRA Games.

Welcome to the PAKRA Games blog!

Greetings all,

Welcome to the PAKRA Games blog. This blog has been established as a learning forum where the members of the PARKA team can share updates on innovations in serious games, elearning, training, patient safety, and video game development. We will also share updates on PAKRA products as we continue to develop simulations of real working environments using video game technology.

I'd like to close our first blog entry letting you know how you can find out more about PAKRA and our products!
  • Visit us at our website: for information regarding our suite of products and our team members
  • Check out our product demos on YouTube:
  • Follow us on Twitter for frequent updates:
  • Become a fan of PAKRA Games on Facebook at